The National Commission on Entrepreneurship (NCOE) wants to pour its new American Formula for Growth into the gas tank of the economy. The NCOE report exhorts policymakers to look at political and economic decisions made over the past 40 years that have catapulted the entrepreneur-led U.S. economy forward for models.
The NCOE recommendations contain kernels members of Congress are already chewing on. Sen. Christopher Bond (R-MO), top Republican on the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, agrees heartily with the report's call to address the "early stage capital gap." Bond introduced the Small Business Investment Company Capital Access Act in 2002, which would allow tax-exempt entities to invest in Small Business Investment Companies (SBICs) without incurring unrelated taxable income. Although Bond's bill did not pass last year, Craig Orfield, Bond's spokesman, says a bill reauthorizing the SBA in 2003 may serve as a convenient vehicle for amendments such as Bond's SBIC Capital Access Act.
The report recommends a number of other measures in five areas: creating financial markets to fund entrepreneurial growth companies (EGCs), providing R&D and intellectual property protection, expanding the supply of technically competent workers, opening new markets and easing entry for EGCs, and establishing a robust and dependable infrastructure.
Some of the agenda items sound a little tone-deaf, though. One urging deregulation of key industries "to encourage entry by entrepreneurial companies" seems to ignore the 1996 Telecommunications Act, which opened the door to a crush of companies that ultimately crashed and burned under the act's guidance.
Stephen Barlas is a freelance business reporter who covers the Washington beat for 15 magazines.